U.S. Supreme Court Notebook

Appeal from Middle East attack victims rejected

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is rejecting an appeal from American victims of terrorist attacks in the Middle East more than a decade ago.

The justices are not commenting Monday in ending a lawsuit against the PLO and Palestinian Authority in connection with attacks in Israel in 2002 and 2004 that killed 33 people. A lower court tossed out a $654 million verdict against the Palestinians.

The Trump administration sided with the Palestinians in calling on the high court to leave the lower court ruling in place. The federal appeals court in New York said U.S. courts can't consider lawsuits against foreign-based groups over random attacks that were not aimed at the United States.

The victims sued under the Anti-Terrorism Act, passed to open U.S. courts to American victims of international terrorism.

Supreme Court rules for car dealerships in overtime case

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that car dealerships aren't required under federal law to pay overtime to their service advisers, the employees that greet customers and assess their service and repair needs. The court ruled that service advisers are salespeople and therefore exempt from overtime requirements.

The case affects the more than 18,000 dealerships nationwide. Together, they employ more than 100,000 service advisers.

The high court ruled 5-4 that service advisers, like car salesmen and mechanics, are exempt under federal law from overtime pay requirements.

The case the high court made its decision in involves a Mercedes Benz dealership in Encino, California, and several current and former service advisers. Each side had a different interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which says that "any salesman ... primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles" doesn't have to be paid overtime.

The dealership argued that the definition of salesman clearly includes service advisers, who have a range of job responsibilities from helping to diagnose mechanical problems to preparing price estimates for repairs. Service advisers had argued that they weren't covered by the definition.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a majority opinion that the "ordinary meaning of 'salesman' is someone who sells goods or services" and that service advisers "do precisely that."

In a dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that because service advisers "neither sell nor repair automobiles" they should not be exempt from overtime payments.

The issue came to the high court after the Department of Labor changed its interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 2011. For the three decades up to then, the department operated under the view that service advisers didn't have to be paid overtime.

Monday's decision was the second time the court has ruled in the case. In an earlier round of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that service advisers were entitled to overtime. But in 2016, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, an eight-member Supreme Court sidestepped the overtime question and told the appeals court to take another look at the case. After a second look, the appeals court once again ruled in favor of the service advisers.

Supreme Court rejects appeal in Grand Haven cross ­dispute

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has turned down an appeal in a dispute over a pole that can be turned into a cross on public land in western Michigan.

The city of Grand Haven stopped the cross display in 2015 after critics said it was an illegal endorsement of religion. Michigan courts have said the city has the power to manage the property along the Grand River.

The Supreme Court on Monday declined an appeal by cross supporters, who said their free speech rights are being violated by Grand Haven.

The Dewey Hill monument was donated to Grand Haven as a memorial for soldiers who served in the Vietnam War. The pole was turned into a cross during summer concerts sponsored by First Reformed Church.

:Supreme Court sides with officer in Arizona police shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is siding with an Arizona police officer in a case filed by a woman who survived being shot four times by the officer.

The court Monday reversed a lower court ruling in favor of the woman, Amy Hughes.

Officers were called to Hughes' house in May 2010 following a report that someone was hacking at a tree with a knife. They arrived and saw Hughes holding a knife.

Hughes didn't comply with commands from officers to drop the knife and continued to move toward her roommate. An officer then shot her.

A trial court ruled for the officer, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision in 2016. The Supreme Court says the officer was immune from being sued by Hughes.

Published: Tue, Apr 03, 2018

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